Public Interest Disclosures
Public Interest Disclosures
New legislation passed by the Victorian Government made changes to Victoria’s integrity system. The new legislation introduced changes to the Protected Disclosure Act 2012 which supports people making disclosures which are in the public interest.
From 1 January 2020, these changes will replace previous protected disclosure arrangements with public interest disclosures.
Formally known as Whistleblowers or Protected Disclosure, the Public Interest Disclosures Act 2012 (the Act) enables people to make disclosures about improper conduct within the public sector without fear of reprisal. The Act aims to ensure openness and accountability by encouraging people to make disclosures and protecting them when they do.
What is a Public Interest Disclosure?
A Public Interest Disclosure may be made about improper conduct by Council, or staff or our Councillors.
How does Council treat Public Interest Disclosures?
Council does not tolerate corrupt or improper conduct by our organisation, staff or Councillors, nor do we tolerate the taking of detrimental action against those who come forward to disclose such conduct.
Staff and members of the public are encouraged to report known or suspect incidences of corrupt or improper conduct.
Council will take all reasonable steps to protect people who make such disclosures from any detrimental action in reprisal for making a disclosure. We will also afford natural justice to the person or body who is the subject of the disclosure.
How do I make a Public Interest Disclosure?
Public Interest Disclosures can be made by any individual including staff and members of the public.
A person may make a disclosure:
- In writing
- Electronically or
Public Interest Disclosures may relate to corrupt or improper conduct, or detrimental action by:
- Our organisation
- Our employees or
- Our Councillors.
Council can only receive disclosures that relate to the Mildura Rural City Council.
Public Interest Disclosures about Councillors must be made to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC), Council is not able to receive disclosures about Councillors.
Information about how to make a disclosure to IBAC is available on their website.
How will Council protect a person making a Public Interest Disclosure?
We will take all reasonable steps to protect a person who makes a Public Interest Disclosure.
All correspondence, phone calls and emails from persons making a Public Interest Disclosure are referred to our Public Interest Disclosure Coordinators.
Our Public Interest Disclosure Coordinators will take all necessary steps to ensure the identity of the person making a disclosure and the person who is the subject of the disclosure are kept strictly confidential, unless an exemption applies under the Act.
Where necessary, welfare support for the person making a Public Interest Disclosure will be arranged.
Who do I contact?
Disclosures should be made confidentially to one of Council's Public Interest Disclosure Coordinators.
Governance & Risk Coordinator
Manager Corporate Administration
General Manager Corporate
All our Public Interest Disclosure Coordinators can also be contacted by addressing mail as follows:
Confidential – Do not open – Public Interest Disclosure
108 Madden Avenue
MILDURA VIC 3500
PO Box 105
MILDURA VIC 3500
While we encourage Public Interest Disclosures to be disclosed to Council in the first instance (excluding disclosures about Councillors), the following agencies can also receive Public Interest Disclosures about Council and our staff.
The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC)
1300 735 135
GPO Box 24234
MELBOURNE VIC 3001
The Victorian Ombudsman
1800 806 314
Level 2, 570 Bourke Street
MELBOURNE VIC 3000
What happens next?
If we determine your disclosure may be a Public Interest Disclosure, Council will notify IBAC of the disclosure within 28 days of receiving it. IBAC will then undertake an assessment of the disclosure.
You will be kept informed of what action has been taken in relation to your disclosure, and the time frames that apply.
- Public Interest Disclosure Policy – currently being updated and presented to the January Ordinary Meeting of Council
- Public Interest Disclosure Fact Sheet
- Public Interest Disclosure Complaint Form
- Public Interest Disclosure Procedures – currently being updated